8 Inexpensive Aquarium Tips and Tricks

Not to long after you get your first aquarium you start thinking about how to make it an even better habitat for the fish and other inhabitants. Listed below are eight inexpensive ways to make your aquarium even better.

Dividing a Tank

If you ever need to separate a fish from the others but don’t have a spare tank, there is an easy solution. Go to a department store with a craft section and purchase a sheet of plastic canvas – the type with big holes. Cut it a bit wider and taller than the tank, then slide it in so the bottom is buried well into the substrate and the top is slightly above the water level. Congratulations! You just made a tank divider.

Seeding a New Tank

Seeding a new aquarium is the process of using gravel from an existing tank to jump start the bacterial colonies in a new tank. If you know you are going to start a new tank, take a filter bag, fill it with some gravel you plan to use in the new tank, then put the bag in an established tank for a few weeks. When you get the new tank set up, transfer the bag of gravel into it, and you have built in bacteria. Don’t have a filter bag? No problem, use clean panty hose instead.

Improve Your Under Gravel Filter

Get some filter floss and completely cover the filter grates with about one inch of it, then add the normal layer of gravel over that. This will increase the available area for the ‘good” bacteria to grow. But before you start go to the crafts section of a department store and look for some large bags of quilt batting, which is the same thing as filter floss, but about 10% of the cost of filter floss.

Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil has a couple of uses for the aquarist. Crinkle it up and then straighten it up again to make a textured background for the tank. Just tape it to the back of the aquarium. Another use is to line the inside of the reflector to make your lights brighter. It is also useful for covering parts of the hood that are left empty (for filter, heater, etc.)

The Best Fish Food

The best fish food available is the common earthworm. Although they are supposedly the most nutritious when fed live, you can also freeze them first and then chop them up for feeding to the fish. You might be able to dig some up in your yard but it’s much easier to just buy them from a bait store. Make sure to separate them from the dirt etc., which usually involves rinsing the earthworms a few times in a large mesh net. Then put the live worms into a sandwich/freezer bag (I think this is a humane or painless way to kill them). To feed the fish break off a piece of frozen worms, add a little water with the worms in a disposable cup and use scissors to snip , snip , snip until I have mostly bite size chunks. A turkey baster works well to feed them to the individual tanks. This is the absolute best spawning conditioning food available for any aquarium fish.

How to Stop Gravel Digging Fish

To save your under-gravel filter, or to just keep large fish from digging, get a plastic webbing type material from the crafts section of a department store. This stuff is inert so it will not affect water quality. To use the webbing, cut it with scissors to the appropriate size and shape. Then place it on top of the gravel and add some more gravel to hide it. This will prevent the fish from creating their own personal aquascape. This material also makes a great spawning grate for fish such as zebra danios and tetras.

How to Quiet a Noisy Air Pump

There’s two ways to make air pumps quieter. The first is to place the pump on a pad of foam rubber. The second is to put the whole air pump into the sock portion of a piece of pantyhose and suspend it from a nail or screw in the back of the aquarium stand.

Really Cheap But Cool Plastic Plants

Though most prefer live plants; it is possible to “plant” a tank with pieces of green trash bags cut to resemble plants. It might sound goofy, but the result can be impressive. The plastic naturally floats so you must glue or attach the plastic to a rock or some other heavy object. But the weightlessness of the “plant” makes it move with the flow of the water and gives a nice upright stance and surprisingly lifelike appearance. Try it, you’ve nothing to lose but a trash bag.

Did You Know

In 2003 Police recovered a 400-pound Bengal Tiger and 3-foot alligator from a Harlem apartment after receiving an anonymous tip that stated, “someplace in the city, there was a large wild animal.” The owner later sued the city for entering his residence without a search warrant.

In 2008, Nils Olav, an emperor penguin at Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo, was knighted for longtime service as the mascot of the Norwegian King’s Guard. In the formal ceremony, Nils walked through rows of soldiers, stopping occasionally to peer at the soldier’s uniforms, before having the king’s sword dropped on both flippers.

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